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Police Have Legal Duty to Uphold Human Rights- NHRC |

By: Mariama Njie

Emmanuel Daniel Joof,  chairperson of the  National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has streesed that the police as protectors of the law however have both a legal duty and a moral obligation to uphold human rights standards.

“They should also  act strictly in accordance with the including their code of conduct and spirit of international, regional human right laws, standards, frameworks and obligations and follow due process and adhered to the provisions of chapter of 4 of the 1997 Constitution regarding safeguarding the rights of the suspects during arrest, detention and trial,” Joof said during the opening of a three days training of thirty police officers on human rights on 2-4 September, 2019 at Baobab Holiday Resort.

The training  is organized by the NHRC in partnership with the peace Building support office, office of the High Commission for Human Rights and the UN transitional justice Project Management Unit under the umbrella of UNDP.

Funded by United Nation Development Programme UNDP the  overall objective of this training workshop is to sensitize police officers about the National Human rights commission and its mandate, also to sensitize the police on the principles and importance of community policing, to reinforce police officers respect for and faith in, human dignity and fundamental human rights, to sensitize the police on issues relating in policing public and assemblies and to provide information on regional and international human rights standards relevant to the work of the police.

According to him,  Gambia police force, many a time, while discharging their duties, have been allegedly accused of falling short of short of adhering to human right standards.

“It’s against this backdrop that NHRC are organizing two sets of trainings for police officers, one for junior and Mid-level and one for senior officers,” he said.

He explained that the three -days training for Police officers are part of  many engagements and capacity building trainings and initiatives that the NHRC will be conducting for rule of the law actors.

He noted that  the NHRC has a very broad mandated to promote and protect human rights which includes interiliac building the capacity of the rule of law actors with a view to building a strong human rights culture in the Gambia and this workshop is part of the building blocks of creating that culture of human rights in the country.

According to him, the police play a very pivotal role in upholding and maintaining the peace in any country, protecting and respecting the human rights of every individual is also fundamental which is the dispensation of the work of the police.

The human right lawyer  said they are consequently expected to have a good understanding of domestic, regional and international human rights frameworks and standards in order to fulfil their obligation effectively and efficiently.

“It is in recognition of this as well as in exercise of its mandate that the NHRC is organizing a training for police officers with the main objective of building their knowledge and understanding on human rights,”

Aissata De, speaking  onbehalf of UNDP and OHCHR said the key role of the police in enforcement of the law and by virtue of their roles as state officers it is vital and imperative that following this training all repots of gender base violence and investigated and treated with utmost urgency and diligence and victims are treated with respect.

She pointed out that  the conduct of this training is also in line with the recommendations received by the Gambia during its last Universal Periodic Review cycle where the Gambia was encouraged to continue its efforts intended at promoting awareness of the culture of human rights in the Gambian society and the importance of the presence of a NHRC.

The Voice Newspaper